Partnering with WICHE since 1953
Executive Director, Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF)
Jim Chavez is executive director of the Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF), a Colorado nonprofit providing college assistance (including direct scholarship support) and guidance to Colorado Latino students and their families. Established in 1949, LAEF is Colorado’s oldest Latino nonprofit.
Chavez has worked much of his professional life for education-related causes. As a board member and staff member of the Colorado Student Obligation Bond Authority, he was instrumental in creating Colorado’s first prepaid college tuition program, now known as CollegeInvest, and then worked across the U.S. to develop and implement numerous state college savings programs, or Section 529 plans. He began his career as a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young.
Chavez is a member of the board of commissioners for the Denver Housing Authority and a member of the board of directors for the Colorado Nonprofit Association. He is a former trustee for the Clayton Early Learning Center, past board member for the Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Corporation, and a past member of the board of trustees for the University of Northern Colorado. He is a graduate of Colorado State University.
Associate Dean for EDI and Clinical Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver
Antwan Jefferson is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. In his administrative work, Antwan is working to advance and EDI infrastructure that supports faculty, staff, and students, while ensuring the development of an inclusive community of scholarship and practice. In his teaching, Antwan’s focus is on youth, families, and communities, with particular interest in the ways in which institutional and historical practices lead to minoritized statuses, limited resources, and personal/collective forms of inequities. His research agenda considers the ways that family and community members experience schools and organizations in their communities, including the implications of space, voice, and power in decision-making and not-for-profit organizations and schools.
Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Angie Paccione was appointed executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education by Gov. Jared Polis in January, 2019. Paccione has more than 20 years of experience in secondary and postsecondary education. She was a high school teacher, coach, and administrator at Smoky Hill High School before earning a doctorate in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. Paccione served on the CSU faculty for nine years as a teacher educator in the “Project Promise” program and conducted research in the teacher education field, examining educators’ life events that led them to commit to issues of diversity and inclusion. Her findings, which informed a teacher preparation program, were published in Teacher’s College Press and have been cited in more than 75 academic papers.
In 2002, Paccione elected to two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, rising to become house majority caucus chair. She served on the education committee during all four years in the legislature, helping guide Colorado’s education environment. In 2006, she ran for U.S. Congress and came within 2.5 percent of unseating the incumbent.
From 2007 through early 2019, Paccione worked for Verus Global, where she specialized in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, talent development, and change management. She has worked with leaders from the shop floor to the C-suite in 40 countries and all 50 states and has co-authored two books on leadership.
Growing up biracial in New York City, attending college in California and residing in Colorado, Paccione bridges many divides. She was raised to believe you can accomplish anything to which you set your mind. Playing basketball at Stanford University and professionally in the 1980s, Paccione likes to say that she is as committed to your success as she is her own.